January 17, 2017

FWS favoring rights of sportsmen over Native American culture and spirituality

I feel a special kinship with the eagle.  My name “Wambli Sina Win” (Eagle Shawl Woman), which I was given in a ceremony, bespeaks a close spiritual relationship with the eagle. Our relationship with the eagle is a cultural and spiritual relationship which predates the European presence. I have written about the desecration of eagle feathers and parts. Recently, several Native American leaders have alerted me to the proposed attack upon our sacred messenger, the eagle, by a government agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, under the guise of its rule making and “regulatory” powers, has quietly launched an attack upon tribal sovereignty and our relative, the indigenous eagle. Without sufficient direct government-to-government tribal consultation and without regard to current federal law which allows only members of federally recognized tribes to obtain permits for eagle feathers and parts, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service now proposes new rules to accommodate sportsmen, “master falconers” to own, breed and cross-breed the indigenous eagle with other species.

The deadline for public comment is October 4, 2011.

The Fish & Wildlife Service appears to promote sportsmen’s rights over the religious rights of Native Americans. It is outrageous to even consider allowing anybody to cross breed the indigenous eagles and to create hybrids.  To allow other species to be imported and to breed and cross breed eagles with other species will open the door to a regulatory nightmare. In its pure form to Native Americans, the “Wambli Gleska,” the Golden Eagle has always been sacred. To cross breed this sacred bird is desecration and will doom the eagle to an unnatural life of captivity with unnatural keepers in an unnatural environment. This is an outrage and an attack on Native American spirituality and culture. Is nothing sacred? Is there no respect for nature and for creatures the Great Spirit has placed upon this earth?

The eagles will face a life of slavery, to be held in captivity, bred for economic reasons and sport, to be bought, sold, and bartered. Non-Indians will be able to do the very thing which Congress has to date prohibited – buy, sell, and barter eagles, their feathers, eggs, semen, parts, and even their nests.

This is nothing more than an economic enterprise. It is commercializing the eagle and turning it into a chicken which can be mass produced. Will the eagle become like a chicken? Will we have hybrid eagles mass produced in eagle plants? No more chicken feathers, everyone can buy a hybrid headdress from a “master falconer.” 

Not so long ago, eagles were on the endangered species list and were protected to a certain extent. Now U.S. Fish & Wildlife appears to be promoting the destruction of the eagle. This is an attack on tribal sovereignty, identity and spirituality. It is cultural and environmental terrorism against a natural species, the eagle, which is sanctioned by a governmental agency. Where does this end?

Our Native American identity is closely intertwined with the eagle and we are one.  At one time we had holy men whose spirit helpers were the eagle. George Eagle Elk, a powerful Sicangu holy man, was one such person.   We had sacred ceremonial dances, the eagle dance, which only one who had such a vision could perform.  Henry Crow Dog, another Sicangu holy man comes to mind.

The eagle, “Wambli,” according to our most ancient origin legends, is our forefather. He saved the first woman and as a hero, the Great Spirit gave him life as a man for his heroism. Prior to the arrival of the Europeans on this continent, the eagles, buffalo, bear and many other species which are spiritually important to Native Americans, did not have a problem harmoniously co-existing with humans. We lived as “ikciya wicasa,” “ikciya winyan,” ordinary men and ordinary women. It is unthinkable that Native Americans would ever treat eagles as a “hobby” or a creature for recreation since we believe that they carry our prayers to the Great Spirit. By introducing these new rules, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is favoring the rights of sportsmen over Native American culture and spirituality.

There has not been sufficient direct consultation with the more than 566 federally recognized tribes to allow this rule making to go forward. Thus, I call upon Tribes to remember the relationship that your ancestors had with the eagle. Tribes must pass their own laws to declare the eagles as “endangered species” to protect them. Only Native Americans should be allowed to have eagle feathers and parts.  To allow this is to allow Non-Indians to have and to exploit the eagle.  

Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I will forward any information you need to oppose this. I urge everyone to contact your Congressional representatives and protest this at the Executive Office level immediately.

Wambli Sina Win is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Bacone College Criminal Justice Studies Department in Muskogee, Okla.

Her grandfather was John Fire, Chief Lame Deer Tahca Uste, a well known Lakota Holy Man from the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  One of her sons is also a medicine man.

She has served as a Tribal Judge for the Oglala Sioux Tribal Court, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, a Tribal Attorney and as a legal Instructor for the U.S. Indian Police Academy at Artesia, N.M.

You may contact Wambli Sina Win, J.D. at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Background Information:

Courtesy Gary Siftar, a rehabilitator of injured and orphaned raptors (Birds of Prey) including eagles.

In 1956, Congress created the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). This organization is regulatory in nature; the primary goal is to protect species.

While FWS deals mostly with biological and legal aspects of wildlife, it is often caught between competing interests.

On 6-Jul-2011, FWS posted a request for comments in the Federal Register.  This organization has to get public comments before they change regulations. FWS is apparently wanting to change the regulations to allow Falconers to breed indigenous eagles. They don’t specify, however, that these eagles would primarily be Golden eagles, at least for now. They are also asking for comments on allowing falconers a permit to create Hybrid eagles. This is cross-breeding a Native eagle with one of the other 59 species of eagles in the world. See an example of what is done outside the US: http://arranbirdsofprey.com/Golden-Ornate-Eagle-Hybrid

Falconers have a history of cross breeding species and are allowed to buy and sell captive bread raptors.  See: http://www.raptorsforsale.com/raptors-for-sale.asp

What can be done? You can send a letter to:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Division of Policy and Directives Management; Public Comments Processing,

4401 North Fairfax Drive,

MS 2042–PDM;     Attention: FWS– R9–MB–2011–0020;

Arlington, VA 22203–1610

Or you can enter a comment online (No e-mail)

You must identify yourself for your comment to count. If you send a letter, is must be postmarked by October 4th. The same with an online reply. It is best to get it in early. Mail goes slow with the government as it has to be scanned for bombs and irradiated for Anthrax. You can ask that they withhold your personal information if you send a letter, but they won’t promise it will be withheld when they post it online.

FWS Questions:

(1)  Whether to allow propagation of Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles under raptor propagation permits

(2)  Qualifications and experience necessary to propagate eagles.

(3)  Limits or restrictions that should apply to propagation of eagles.

(4)  Special restrictions that should apply with regard to imprinting.

(5)  Whether propagators should be allowed to hybridize Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles with other species of eagles

(6)  Restrictions on purposes for which captive-bred eagles may be held.

(7)  Qualifications and experience necessary to possess a captive-bred Bald Eagle or Golden Eagle.

(8)  Special facilities requirements for propagation of Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles

(9)  Report information that should be required from a permit holder, if any.

(10)  Other conditions that should apply to these permits.


Below is the proposal. It is online and open for comment HERE

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 129 (Wednesday, July 6, 2011)] [Proposed Rules] [Pages 39367-39368] From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov] [FR Doc No: 2011-16877]   ======================================================================= -----------------------------------------------------------------------  DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR  Fish and Wildlife Service  50 CFR Part 21  [Docket No. FWS-R9-MB-2011-0020; 91200-1231-9BPP] RIN 1018-AX78   Migratory Bird Permits; Changes in the Regulations Governing  Raptor Propagation  AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.  ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking.  -----------------------------------------------------------------------  SUMMARY: We solicit recommendations on whether the bald eagle  (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)  should be included among other raptors that may be propagated in  captivity under Federal raptor propagation permits.  DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked by the end of the  day on October 4, 2011.  ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either one of the following  methods:      Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.  Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-R9- MB-2011-0020.      U.S. mail or hand delivery: Public Comments Processing,  Attention: FWS-R9-MB-2011-0020; Division of Policy and Directives  Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive,  MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203-1610.     We will not accept e-mail or faxes. We will post all comments on  http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any  personal information that you provide. See the Public Comments section  below for more information.  FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. George T. Allen, 703-358-1825.  SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  Public Comments      Propagation of bald eagles and golden eagles has not been allowed  under the raptor propagation permit regulations at 50 CFR 21.30. We are  now considering whether to permit this activity. We request comments  and suggestions on this topic from the public, other concerned  governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, and other  interested parties.     You may submit your comments and supporting materials only by one  of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We will not consider  comments sent by e-mail or fax, or written comments sent to an address  other than the one listed in the ADDRESSES section.     If you submit a comment via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire  comment--including any personal identifying information--will be posted  on the Web site. If you submit a hardcopy comment that includes  personal identifying information, you may request that we withhold this  information from public review, but we cannot guarantee that we will be  able to do so. We will post all hardcopy comments on http://www.regulations.gov.     Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting  documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be  available for public inspection at http://www.regulations.gov, or by  appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and  Wildlife Service (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).  Background      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the Federal agency with the  primary responsibility for managing migratory birds. Our authority is  based on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA, 16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.)  and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA, 16 U.S.C. 668).  Regulations governing the issuance of permits for bald eagles and  golden eagles are in 50 CFR part 22 and certain sections of 50 CFR part  21.     The MBTA allows the Secretary of the Interior to issue permits for  take and possession of migratory birds for many purposes. The BGEPA  allows bald eagles and golden eagles to be taken and possessed under  more restricted circumstances. For example, only golden eagles that are  depredating on livestock or wildlife may be taken from the wild by  falconers, and bald eagles, no matter what their origin, cannot be held  for falconry. Eagles may not be sold, purchased, or bartered under any  circumstances, regardless of whether they are wild or captive-bred in  origin.     Bald and golden eagles are the only raptor species protected by the  MBTA that are not allowed under the current raptor propagation permit  regulations at 50 CFR 21.30 because those regulations do not apply to  these two species that are also protected under the Bald and Golden  Eagle Protection Act (see 50 CFR 21.2(b)). We are evaluating whether to  amend the regulations to allow some holders of valid raptor propagation  permits to propagate eagles as they can many other raptor species. Most  eagles in captivity are held under permits for exhibition/education,  eagle falconry, and Native American eagle aviaries. All  [[Page 39368]]  eagles held for falconry are golden eagles, and most were removed from  the wild due to livestock depredation. Most eagles held for exhibition/ education and Native American aviaries are nonreleasable bald eagles  and golden eagles obtained from permitted rehabilitators. We are  assessing whether captive-bred eagles should be available for these or  other purposes. We solicit comments and suggestions on all aspects of  bald eagle and golden eagle propagation and potential regulations to  govern Federal permitting of this activity.     We particularly solicit comments on the topics listed below.  Explaining your reasons and rationale for your comments will help as we  consider them.     (1) Whether to allow propagation of bald eagles and golden eagles  under raptor propagation permits.     (2) Qualifications and experience necessary to propagate eagles.     (3) Limits or restrictions that should apply to propagation of  eagles.     (4) Special restrictions that should apply with regard to  imprinting.     (5) Whether propagators should be allowed to hybridize bald eagles  and golden eagles with other species of eagles.     (6) Restrictions on purposes for which captive-bred eagles may be  held.     (7) Qualifications and experience necessary to possess a captive- bred bald eagle or golden eagle.     (8) Special facilities requirements for propagation of golden  eagles and bald eagles.     (9) Report information that should be required from a permit  holder, if any.     (10) Other conditions that should apply to these permits.      Dated: June 27, 2011. Rachel Jacobson, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. [FR Doc. 2011-16877 Filed 7-5-11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-55-P